According to a report, the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears have emerged as another potential suitor for San Francisco 49ers free agent safety Donte Whitner.
Whitner, a Pro Bowl selection in each of the last two years, has drawn serious interest from the Browns, Bears and New York Jets, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The interest from the Jets broke on Sunday.
The 49ers are expected to make a strong push to keep their strong safety from the past three seasons. However, the Browns might be an attractive option for Whitner, a Cleveland native who attended Ohio State. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns are one of Whitner’s top choices.
Whitner will be entering his ninth season, but he’s still only 28 years old. He was the youngest player ever drafted at the time he was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the eighth overall pick in 2006.
Whitner was publicly lobbying for an extension last summer and went public again in December that he wanted to remain in San Francisco.
“I definitely want to be here,” Whitner said at the time. “I think we have something special on this defense. Young guy like Eric Reid, I like playing with him. I like this secondary and the rest of the guys. I like coming to work. So we’ll see what happens.”
San Francisco lost an All-Pro safety in free agency last season when Dashon Goldson bolted for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for five years and $41.25 million.